‘In a 5-Test series 2 can be played with pink ball,’ Dilip Vengsarkar
The low spectator turn out in Test matches in India has been a growing concern for the last few years with captain Virat Kohli even proposing to limit Test cricket to 5 venues only.Updated: Nov 22, 2019 11:40 IST
Is Day/Night Test with pink balls the way forward for the longest format of the game? The question has been doing the rounds ever since India decided to embrace pink ball Test by hosting Bangladesh for a Day/Night affair for the first time at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The debate was fuelled on the eve of the historic event by India captain Virat Kohli when he clearly stated Test cricket should not lose its charm just for the sake of entertainment. “This (pink ball Test) can be a one-off thing. It should not become a regular scenario. You can bring excitement into Test cricket but you can’t purely make Test cricket based on just entertainment,” said Kohli. But former India batsman and chairman of selectors Dilip Vensarkar had a different answer to the question.
“If there is 5 Tests in a series then we can play 2 with the pink ball,” Vengsarkar told Hindustan Times ahead of the historic event at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata starting on November 22. “I am really happy that we’re playing India’s first ever Day/Night Test at Eden Gardens. It’s a fascinating innovation,” said Vengsarkar.
The low spectator turn out in Test matches in India has been a growing concern for the last few years with captain Virat Kohli even proposing to limit Test cricket to 5 venues only. During this grim period of low viewership – in terms of crowd attendance in the stadium - in Test cricket, the Day/Night Test has come in like a breath of fresh with the first 3 days of it expected to be a full house. The online tickets vanished within hours, prompting hundreds to queue in front of Eden Gardens Gate No. 3 and 4 with the hope of an online sale even till Thursday evening only to return empty handed.
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“Great to see such excitement before a Test match. Pink ball Tests are certainly one of the things to look forward to it. The kind of response the people have shown towards this Test gives a good indication,” Vengsarkar added.
Vengsarkar, however, made it clear that it was too early to pass judgement on the pink ball and Day/Night Tests. “We can only get a clearer picture once this match is completed. There are so many factors like how the ball will behave under lights, the lacquer coating on it, whether the dew factor will have a larger impact... So for all these things, we have to wait and watch.”
Both Virat Kohli and his Bangladesh counterpart Mominul Haque spoke about the challenges of batting and fielding under lights. Both captains mentioned that the ball felt heavier than usual and it hit the palms hard. Reacting on this, Vengsarkar said, it’s all about adapting to different scenarios. “Just like players adapt to conditions in England, West Indies and South Africa, they will have to adapt to the pink ball,” said the 63-year-old.
Vengsarkar who has represented India in 116 Tests, scoring 6868 runs, batted for better pitches to attract more crowd in Test cricket. “We need to prepare quality pitches. If there is a good contest between bat or ball, more and more people will be interested to watch Test cricket rather than seeing spinners bowl in the first hour in a dust bowl or batsman mounting up huge totals on a belter,” added Vengsarkar.
Heaping praise on the Indian fast bowlers, Vengsarkar said, “It is heartening to see Indian fast bowlers achieve such great highs. Hopefully this will continue even in places like Australia and New Zealand.”